10 Surprising Things That Were Censored On Film And TV In The Past

Since the very first clipof moving pictures was developed, there have also been cases of bizarre film and TV censorship.

As the entertainment industry grew with the popularity of silent films, “talkies,” and home television sets, so did the scrutiny on each and every production attempting to air in front of an audience. Obviously, it’s all done in what those various establishments over the years thoughtwas in our best interest, but as you can see in the examples below, they also had a habit of getting a little carried away.

For instance, I knew Elvis Presley caused a ruckus with his on-stage antics, but I had no idea it went so far as the details in #5 reveal.

Do you remember seeing something strange get banned or censoredon TV or in a film back in the day? Let us know in the comments and be sure to SHARE with your friends!

Thumbnail source: Flickr /Bill Bradford

1. The Cleavers’ Toilet

Film

The Leave it to Beaver debut was originally banned because the boys try hiding a pet alligator in the back of their toilet. The network finally allowed it when they agreed to not show the seat, only the tank.

2. Kissing From Thomas Edison

Film

Probably the earliest example of censorship, Thomas Edison’sThe Kiss in 1896 was a chaste display of affection thatthey referred to as“sparkin’” back in the Victorian Era and was promptly frowned upon.

3. Jane Russell’s Breasts

Film

Though fully coveredin 1941The Outlaw, they were still consideredtoo buxom for the Hollywood Production Code Administration’s taste, and they delayed the release of the film.

The Breen Office requested 37 specific reshootsof scenes with the actress, and director Howard Hughesshelved it twice before finally distributing itin 1946 amid more legal battles.

4. The Monkees Saying “Hell”

Film

In a second season episode of The Monkees,Peter foolishlysells his soul to the devil and must go to court with his bandmates to fight for it back.

Even though it’s the location of the fictional courtroom, theboys were bleeped with a cuckoo bird sound every time they said “hell,” which Micky then controversially addressedby ending his argumentsaying, You know whats even more scary? You cant say hell on television.

5. Elvis Presley’s Hips

Film

The King’s swinging pelvis was too much on Milton Berle’s show in 1956, causing Ed Sullivan to cancel his scheduled appearance on his show as well.Steve Allen persevered, but made light of the tension by havingElvis wear a white tuxedo to serenade “Hound Dog” to a basset hound.

Ed invited Elvisback to his show soon after, though he also made sure to filmthe singer exclusivelyfrom the waist up.

6. Boxing Between The Greats

Film

In 1897, aboxing match betweenJames Corbett and Bob Fitzsimmons was dubbed “The Fight Of The Century,” and cameras were on site to captureone of the longest films at the timeon over 11,000 feet of widescreen film.

However, due to anti-prizefighting laws, Maine passed a $500 fine for anyone showing boxing films. Illinois, Minnesota, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania quickly did the same.

7. Lucy Using The Word “Pregnant”

Film

When Lucy Ricardo became pregnant in the second season ofI Love Lucy, thecastwasonly allowed tosay things like“with child,” “having a baby,” and “expecting” rather than acknowledge the condition more directly.

8. Jeannie’s Belly Button

Film

The network had to make sure the bottom of Barbara Eden’soutfit on I Dream of Jeanniewas high enough to cover the naval. The same applied to Dawn Wells as Mary Ann onGilligan’s Islandand all of the young actresses onGidget.

9. Maureen O’Sullivan’s Torso

Film

The actress’ midriff is on full displayin the 1934Tarzan and His Mate,butthe Hays Code forced her to cover up five years later when she appeared again as Jane inTarzan Finds a Son.

10. The Doors’ Lyrics

Film

In 1967, Ed Sullivan asked Jim Morrison to amend the lyrics for“Light My Fire” to not say, “Girl, we couldn’t get muchhigher.”

Producers recommended the singer changeit to, “Girl, we couldn’t get much better,” but Jim stood his ground, sang the original lyrics, and the band was banned from ever returning.

Did we miss any controversial moments of censorship you remember from the past? Let us know below and be sure to SHARE with your friends!

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